Guest Loyalty is Essential
More than ever, creating loyalty through guest experience is essential to a hotel’s success formula. Without it, hospitality interlopers like alternative accommodation sites have potential to chip away at a property’s business mix, slowly eroding not just loyalty, but profits too.
When a hotel operations platform, interoperability, data integration and cloud-computing unite, hoteliers suddenly have magical insight into customer habits that uncover myriad ways to keep them coming back time and time again. And when done right, it allows for premium pricing customers will pay for, that is if – and only if — a hotel stay promises to be tailored to individual guest needs and desires.
And those stays better be personalized too since it’s already what the customer wants and will soon expect. “Personalization of the guest experience is the next frontier,” Gretchen Hartley, senior director, global design at Marriott International told Hospitality Technology magazine. “We are looking at technology in whatever form as a tool that will help enable this idea. Whether that comes through conversation/voice, IoT, or other guest recognition technology, we are always looking at technology as a way to help further enhance the guest experience.”
Bringing Hartley’s prediction to life means having well-conceived data integration technology. The future health of an individual hotel may very well depend on it. According to Sabre, 73% of customers like to buy from brands personalizing the shopping experience. That is why brands such as Amazon are finding success. We know you love those items you never knew you wanted, but suddenly need when they appear on your personalized shopping homepage.
Hotels must do that too; data integration makes it happen. At the property level, better guest experiences drive return visits. Securing return visits means forging individualized insights on specific customers garnered from all digital communications and booking channels, in-person touch points, social media, and on-property behaviors and spending habits.
It’s the decades-old promise of true customer relationship management (CRM) finally playing out in real time. With the right tools, hoteliers get robust insight regarding customer habits and desires.
Creativity Sparks Loyalty
A well-integrated CRM allows hoteliers to craft highly-tailored offers resulting in a significantly higher likelihood of appealing to potential guests. Plus, knowing specific guest preferences allows sales and marketing teams to be more creative while achieving results more likely to ￼spark customer loyalty.
“It’s the ability to target people who have previously engaged with your site,” said Ed Lines, VP, industry manager, Google, as reported by Hotel Management Magazine. “Maybe they are on your [customer relationship management] list, a loyal customer or they have been to the booking page. That, plus knowing what device they are on and their frame of mind, can help you refine your marketing tactics.”
Interoperability, data integration and cloud-computing also allow for future innovation previously not possible with on-premise systems. As newer innovations become ordinary, these new amenities, services and tools are easily plugged in.
For example, the next great on-premise customer service leap is voice-activated digital assistants. Without an easy way to interact with the PMS, this soon to be mainstream technology would not be possible.
And finally, guests are also looking to personally control more of their stay, interoperability let’s them. For example, we’re seeing an increase in smartphone apps that give guests control of in-room elements such as room temperature, television channels, and even to close the drapes through their personal device.
Morphing customer habits combined with next generation technologies are quickly changing the rules of hotel operations and customer engagement. Hoteliers still clinging to premise-based systems are in danger of being left behind. Those embracing interoperability, data integration powered through cloud-computing, well, the potential for future success is great.
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